Washington State: @WAPlanFinder clarifies #COVID19 Enrollment Period is only open to those NOT currently enrolled on-exchange

A couple of weeks ago I reported that the Washington Healthplan Finder was the one of the first state-based ACA exchanges to announce their own COVID19 Special Enrollment Period to coincide with the federal one being launched via HealthCare.Gov.

At the time, I wrote:

Washington State's appears to be for anyone who'd otherwise be eligible during Open Enrollment, which amounts to the same thing as full Open Enrollment. That means even those who are already enrolled in an ACA exchange plan will be able to switch to a different plan mid-year.

Well, so much for that; the Washington Health Benefit Exchange has issued a new press release ahead of the February 15th COVID SEP launch clarifying who's eligible and who isn't:

New Special Enrollment Period for Health Coverage Opens February 15

  • Washington Healthplanfinder will open for currently uninsured or those seeking new coverage

Washington Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange) will be opening a special enrollment period starting Feb. 15 for Washingtonians. This aligns with President Biden’s executive order to re-open the federal health insurance marketplace, giving additional time to Americans still seeking health coverage during the pandemic.

The special enrollment will run for 90 days, ending May 15, 2021. During this time those currently uninsured, seeking coverage, or enrolled in off-Exchange health insurance (such as health sharing ministries, short-term limited duration plans or COBRA) can enroll. Current Washington Healthplanfinder enrollees will not be eligible for this special enrollment.

In other words, no, current ACA exchange enrollees will not be able to switch plans mid-year in Washington State after all.

“The Washington Health Benefit Exchange will be following the Federal Exchange special enrollment period,” said Chief Executive Officer Pam MacEwan. “We want to be sure we provide every opportunity for Washingtonians to enroll in health care coverage during the global pandemic.”

Enrollment is offered year-round for individuals and families who qualify for free or low-cost coverage through Washington Apple Health (Medicaid).

Customers seeking coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder must contact an Exchange certified Broker, Navigator, enrollment center or the Customer Support Center between 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday at 1-855-923-4633; TTY: 855-627-9604 to initiate coverage. Free help from local experts is accessible by visiting here.

Individuals who qualify will have 60 days to select a plan. Those who select coverage by the 15th of the month will begin receiving coverage the first of the following month. Coverage available includes Cascade Care plans, which offer deductibles that are on average $1,000 less than other plans, and cover more services prior to meeting a deductible, including primary care visits, mental health services, and generic drugs.

More than two million Washingtonians secured their health coverage through Washington Healthplanfinderin 2020 translating to one person every 17 seconds.

Reminders: Enrollment is offered year-round to individuals and families through Washington Apple Health (Medicaid).